RIME Never mind the title. see this exuberant combination of masks. movement and visual
E eltects In a tangled
love-story trom a premier Japanese company.
Bride’s Centre (Festival) 225 5756. 21-26 Aug 7.30pm. 24, 26 Aug 2.30pm. 2550-28.
‘.‘ ‘5‘: .. I SALOME Steven Berkoil's wickedly mlminalist1920s staging oi OscarWllde's unguent play is, untortunately. sold out-but some returns should be available.
Gate Theatre (Festival) Royal Lyceum Theatre 225 57184.108.40.206.19 7.30pm. 15 Aug 9.30pm.16 Aug 5.30pm.17.19Aug 2.30pm. 24.50428.
Yokohama Boat Theatre, St
I BORIS GOOUNOV Yury Lubylmov revlves his version the classic Pushkin play with one at Russia’s llnest companies- a major event ol the World Theatre season.
Taganka Theatre. Leith Theatre (Festival) 225 57220.127.116.11. 25 Aug 7.30pm. 22.50-28.
I SO WHERE TO? Powertui black South Atrican drama
' revolving aroundthrae
pregnantteenagers. played with passionate intensity. Sablkwa Players (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. Aug 11-Sepl2 5pm. £5 (£4).
' Open Stage Obaia (Fringe).
Simon Bayly selects this week’s highlights from the large world theatre contingent. Below — previews and reviews. I OGURI RANOAR. TERUTE
I TATTOO THEATRE Return oi 1987 success trom Yugoslavia - highly idiosyncratic experimental theatre that really touches the emotions.
Seaman's Mission. Grassmarket (Oemarco Gallery Venue 22 tor 1 tickets) 557 0707.23.27 “ “98°30” “(93" I POOR LIZA New Russian company, previously unknown outside the USSR. with their startling adaptation of the Karamazin noveﬂa.
Theatre ou Nikitsklkh (Fringe) Traverse Theatre (Venue 15) Aug 15-20 at 2.45pm. Aug 22—27 5pm. Aug 29—Sapt 2. noon. £6 (£3)
Simon Bayly previews a challenging Russian production with a chequered history.
Whereas general opinion has it that the Fringe is frightfully zany and weird. wonderfully unpredicatable. wickedly funny and seriously experimental. the Festival is often scorned as elitist. expensive or just plain boring.
But while many companies continue to stay away from an increasingly commercialized and cut-throat Fringe. the International Festival has begun to use its financial clout to take risks. presenting excellent foreign productions that don‘t just cater to opera buffs. This year offers the chance to see the work ofone the most prestigious (though not the most popular with previous Soviet administrations) theatres in contemporary Russia for less than the price of an Assembly Rooms cabaret ticket.
Moscow‘s Taganka Theatre are performing Boris Godunov. Pushkin's epic drama about the
bloody rise and fall of the 17th century 'l‘zar. Founded in 1945. the Taganka got a second lease oflifc from the enthusiasm and talents of Yury Lyubimov. Unfortunately. since producing Godunov in 1983. both he and the production have had varied and not altogether happy careers. Godunov was banned by Soviet authorities. who registered a grand total of-iZ objections. Lyubimov says that the ban arose form ‘a sad misunderstanding by schizophrenic bureaucrats. who out ofsheer fright did not know what to do. Leonid Brezhnev had just died and Yuri Andropov taken over. Suddenly the bureaucrats had to decide what to make of the play. They asked me what I was getting at.‘
As a result. Lyubimov decided not to return home after a European tour and was consequently stripped of his post as 'I‘aganka’s director. party membership and finally of his Soviet citizenship. ‘The performance was directed straight at today‘s generation and the aesthetics irritated the authorities. They didn‘t understand it and saw only political allusions the whole time. Perhaps they thought that the Russian Tsar Godunov was an allusion to Brezhnev.‘ Lyubimov is being slightly disingenuous. knowing well the kind of reaction the play was likely to provoke. ‘So they sent me to England. just like Ilamlet‘. he adds wryly.
After several years directing in Scandinavia. [Israel and Britain (he is currently working on the Leicester llaymarket‘s Hamlet). glasnost allowed the 70 year-old director back to Moscow. Last year Gorbachev himself asked why the Taganka was not playing its full repertoire and soon after Lyubimov started rehearsals on Boris Godunov with his original company.
Though Pushkin has always been very much a state literary institution. Lyubimov stresses his importance: ‘lt‘s a shame that such a great writer as Pushkin is so little known in the West. Here they think ofhim as a Iibrettist for operas— people don‘t realise that he was a playwright of Shakespearean stature. Even in the Soviet Union his plays have become to some extent part of the national curriculum. I tried to approach him from a different angle. Stanislavski. for example. managed to use a significant part of Pushkin‘s methods in his work with actors. It will be up to the public to judge to what extent I have succeeded in my attempts to do this.‘
How permanent Lyubimov’s reinstatement at the Taganka will be remains uncertain. but he is in no doubt about where his own heart lies. ‘I have spent (16 out of the last 71 years ofmy life in Moscow. That is where mypupils and relatives are.‘
I See Ilitlist for venue details.
banners. he proclaimed
the takeover of the world
by theatre. by carnival. In medieval Europe.
Els Comediants— Dimonis (a night ofheII) began with firecrackers in the night above the turretcd roofof George Heriot‘s School. In the space of two hours. hundreds of wet Sunday Fringe-goers were converted by compulsive drumming and inspired madness into delirious
and sex). It also means ‘the world turned upside down’. Els Comediants are Catalans. from Barcelona; they created Dimonis for the streets. The best moments are
willingly to a series of stages. A woman sets fire to her washing. we are
rings. and ejaculatcsfire. Fireworks are everywhere. Coloured smoke swirls across masked performers. half devil. halfanimal.
Els Comediants suck you into their joyful vision. You willingly
promised us ‘the driving out of reason with fire‘. and ‘pleasure ofthe crutch‘. He swept down to us on a wire. Figures danced on the roof. windows spat fire. When he climbed back up the face ofthe building. greeted by beautiful white
carnival meant ﬂesh (meat
when drummers drive you
cclcbmnts of‘thc pelted with vegetables. A Republic of Dcmonsg giantphallus is used for The chief Demon hoop-la with ﬂaming
abandon reason. Carnival
in Britain was suffocated by Protestantism; now we know what we lost. (Roland Miller)
I Els Comediants (Festival) George lleriot‘s. 17 Aug. 9.30pm.
New Yorker Cairo Cannon‘s energetic lunchtime show brings breathless excitement and little insight to the subject oflarge parties. A mild parallel between Emily Post's etiquette and Girl Guide rules is insufficient to bring together bits of her primary technique. progressive excision of an action sequence. She‘s funny when she's drunk. but it takes her too long to get there considering she‘s drinking Logg Island Iced Tea. Maybe she should
switch to Dixie beer. (Wes Shrum)
I Whistling Dixie (Fringe) (‘airo Cannon. ('alton Studios (Venue 71). 556 7066. 13-26 Aug. noon. £3.5()(£2.5()).
IIEEWERIIIII TATTOO THEATRE
Open Stage from Sarajevo return to the Fringe with their 1987 success and a new piece entitled Moonplay. which was supposed to have played at the Traverse last year— but didn't actually exist by the time the Festival arrived. Your roving reporter can assure you that it is now very much a going concern. since he saw it in Yugoslavia a few weeks ago. where it has been performed on and off for several months.
()pcn Stage are a small experimental theatre directed by Mladen Materic. Professor of Stage Movement at Sarajevo‘s Academy of Dramatic Art. where Materic was himselfa student. In four yearsthey have made only two major performances. working slowly and meticulously without written texts. In 1987. audiences were overwhelmed by Tattoo Theatre‘s mixture of poignant naively and a bleak realism usually associated with writers such as Franz Xaver Kroetz. Deviod of dialogue. the performance is a kind of barometer forthe turbulent relationship ofa
young couple who stand at the centre of the action. Beyond that. there are several surprises — but it
would be unfair to give them away in advance. Moonplay follows on from Tattoo Theatre's themes ofdreaming innocence versus brute realities and uses a similar wordless style with continual music soundtrack. However. it has to be said that Tattoo is the better show. more original in presentation and more engagingin emotional terms as well. Nevertheless. comparisons are bound to be illuminating and both peformances are liable to have changed somewhat since their last showings. I See Hitlist and Feature.
Adapted from the novella by Nikolai Karamzin, Theatre on Nikitskikh's
3D The List 18— 24 August 1989